Thread: Rise of the WHL
View Single Post
Old 01-15-2020, 09:42 AM   #36
All Star Starter
RMc's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,086
Thanks: 128
Thanked 182x in 110 posts
Well, maybe the Sabres will move to Philly!

Hockey in Philadelphia has an interesting history. The old Montreal Maroons, dormant since 1938, attempted to move to Philly after WW2; per wiki:

At the 1945 annual league meeting, held on September 7, it was noted that the backers of the Maroons franchise were in discussion to sell to a group from Philadelphia fronted by Canadiens board member Len Peto. The league governors were prepared to approve the transfer, provided the Philadelphia group could prove they had the necessary funds for a hockey team.

Peto was able to get the necessary funding, and persuaded the league to transfer the Maroons to Philadelphia. However, despite being larger than all but two NHL cities, Philadelphia did not have an arena that could accommodate an NHL team. The city's largest arena, the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania, did not have an ice plant, and both Penn and Madison Square Garden (which managed the Palestra) balked at the expense of installing one. The only arena in the city with an ice plant, Philadelphia Arena, was ruled out because its sight lines and capacity (5,500) were deemed inadequate even for temporary use. The league gave Peto until the end of the 194647 season to find a suitable arena. In February, 1946 Peto announced plans to build a 20,000-seat arena on the site of the old Baker Bowl at a cost of $2.5 million. However, when his group was unable to get funding for the project by the league-imposed deadline, the NHL cancelled the Maroons franchise.
The Flyers, of course, came to town in 1967, so the Spectrum was built for them. But no Flyers, no Spectrum? Well, the 76ers had been in town since 1963 and playing at Convention Hall (built 1931, capacity 9,690) and would've probably wanted a new arena before long. And hockey wasn't an impossibility at the Convo: the WHA Blazers played there in 1972-73!

Then again, Philadelphia is a city famous for corruption and infighting, so it's quite possible that Philly's warring political factions would've kept a new arena from being built well into the 1970s. Ya never know!
"We're all behind our baseball team..."
RMc is offline   Reply With Quote